How to Choose the Right Smartphone: Criteria for Any Budget

Which is more important – gigabytes or megapixels? Which processor is cooler, which screen technology is preferable? Here’s what to look for and what the obscure words in the list of features of these gadgets mean.


TFT screens have become a relic of the past. The most popular technology for the displays of modern smartphones – IPS. They are bright and relatively inexpensive matrices with wide viewing angles and saturated colors. If you spend a few minutes on the setting, you can achieve a comfortable image quality.

OLED screens use organic LEDs. Their main advantage is the quality of deep dark shades. But there is a disadvantage – flicker at low brightness levels. The thing is that the backlight of the IPS screen works all the time, but with different intensity. OLED uses pulse width modulation – the lower the brightness, the less the screen flickers. Many people do not notice this, but even their body can react to it. After a few hours in front of the screen, users suffer from red eyes and a headache.

Manufacturers are introducing more and more new technologies that help compensate for PWM and remove flicker, and most often they succeed. So if you like to watch good movies on your smartphone, play games with lots of dark scenes, or spend hours processing photos, OLED is better. If you often use your gadget at minimum brightness or don’t want to overpay, IPS is a good choice.

AMOLED are screens with active OLED matrices. They offer higher brightness and clarity, wide viewing angles, and fast rendering when you change frames. In addition, AMOLEDs on average consume less power because the black areas consist, by and large, of off pixels – and that is why all OLED screens have a dark theme that can extend battery life.

Super AMOLED is the next stage in the development of OLED technology. Samsung’s development provides more accurate color reproduction: shades are minimally distorted even when viewed at an angle or in direct sunlight. Besides, the power consumption of such screens is lower than that of conventional OLEDs.


Here it’s quite simple: the more the better. If you need a smartphone for social networking, calls, video chats and casino games to Play online, then 3-4 GB of RAM is enough.

For shooters, MMORPG and other fast-paced games, as well as video processing, it is better to take a model with 6 GB of RAM. This will be enough for a year or two, or even more.

Finally, for unlimited gameplay models with 8 GB or even 12 GB of RAM suit. The same amount is installed in models that support slow-mo shooting with high frame rate (240 frames per second). On this device any game will just fly!


A high-quality smartphone helps you take cool photos and videos, which are great to share on social networks or in private messages. But just buying a device with four cameras and the maximum number of megapixels isn’t enough.

If the main camera has several modules, each of them usually has its own task:

  • The universal module takes the best quality shots in any situation.
  • With a wide-angle lens, you can cover more space – for example, to shoot the Eiffel Tower in its entirety or a crowd of friends at a party. But the really good bright shots here are usually only taken outside on a sunny day.
  • The black and white module with a minimum resolution (2-3 MP) helps to determine the depth of the scene, separate the background from the foreground and make a beautiful bokeh (blur).
  • The telephoto module allows you to zoom in on objects in the frame.
  • The macro module is needed to photograph the microcosm (insects, flowers, snowflakes) from a distance of about 5 cm.

The universal smartphone camera module will have the highest resolution and the highest quality optical system. Resolution is the number of cells in the matrix. The larger each cell, the more light it can collect, and the more accurate, clearer and brighter the image will be.

The resolution of the front camera is important if you often take selfies or communicate a lot by video. Some smartphones support simultaneous shooting with both cameras – it looks interesting.

Pay attention to the stabilization system. The digital option is also a software feature, which to some extent can replace the tool “Sharpness” in the editor. And optical stabilization can really get rid of blur when shooting fast-moving objects.

Of course, manufacturers are using different technologies that help software to improve photos and videos, but if the matrix gets a little light, it will be much harder to “pull” the picture. So it is better to be guided not by numbers, but by the results of the shooting – for example, look at photos and videos from reviews. But, of course, from the main camera of 13 MP and front camera of 5 MP miracles should not be expected – such solutions are often used in budget models.


Just choosing a model with the maximum number of cores and gigahertz isn’t enough. It’s all about the technology inside the processor: the newer the process technology and the more powerful the cores themselves, the higher the performance.

So you have to start with the manufacturer. One of the best chips on the market, the Snapdragon, is produced by Qualcomm. It has different lines:

  • Models that start with an “8” are the most powerful, for cool gameplay, high performance when processing video and running heavy apps.
  • The series that begin with “6” are great for everyday use, and the latest games they pull, albeit not at maximum settings.
  • Series with “4” are budget models, reliable, energy-efficient, but without any claims to records.

Built-in Memory

Often smartphones are offered in different modifications – with different amounts of memory: 128 GB, 256 GB, etc. The maximum amount of memory is needed if you take a lot of photos and videos – and do not send pictures and videos to cloud storage or to a computer. Also, if your smartphone doesn’t have a microSD card slot, it’s worth taking the memory with a reserve, because you can’t increase the capacity later.


The higher the battery capacity, the longer the smartphone can operate on a single charge. But there are no rules without exceptions. For example, energy-efficient processors are slower to consume energy due to internal optimization, so a smartphone based on the latest series of Qualcomm Snapdragon can last longer than a budget Chinese chip.

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